Fast miles highlight Dover Downs Monday card
Temperatures may not have been much above freezing when the Monday evening card at Dover Downs got under way, but it did not prevent numerous pacers from uncorking several fast clockings over the Delaware five-eighths mile oval and one catch driver clearly had the hot hand.
Driver Yannick Gingras has won virtually every major stakes race on the continent for trainer Ron Burke - save the Hambletonian which continues to elude him - and Monday evening the sport's top pilot steered home five winners, including two for Burke. But the fastest mile of the night was posted by another talented catch driver.
Major Uptrend (Corey Callahan) set all the fractions en route to winning the five-year-old and under Open Handicap in 1:49.1. This Doug Lewis trainee used his inside draw and early gate speed to their fullest advantage and led throughout and held safe the late bid of Little Ben (Victor Kirby) to score by nearly a length in 1:49.1, one of only two sub-1:50 miles on the card.
Fittingly enough, the other would belong to a Burke-Gingras tandem. Atta Boy Dan captured the $30,000 Open/Preferred Handicap for older pacers by nearly a length in 1:49.4. Bushwacker (Callahan), a talented sort trained by Chris Ryder, stayed with the favorite throughout and was clearly second best beaten less than a length.
Sweet Rock (Davis) delivered the grittiest performance of the night when he rallied first over to capture the $27,500 Delaware Special Handicap for older pacers with Delaware connections by a length in 1:50.2. One race earlier it was Adventure Bound (Gingras) who went wire-to-wire in 1:50.2 to capture a "winners over" class for trainer Eric Ell and the connections of JL Cruze.
Gingras earlier won three other events for three different trainers. He steered the durable and classy Speed Again to the inside down the backside and home free in 1:50.2 for Burke, guided Sentosa Island to a four-length score in 1:53 for trainer Jason Skinner and earlier piloted Grantland to a three-length victory in a non-winners of four races lifetime event for trainer Josh Green.